Saturday, July 05, 2008

Parking Lots

I've had past rave-ups about the wonder worlds of driving and going to the store. Well, hell, why not combine these wonderful side-thorns into the beautiful middle ground between the two, known as the store/mall parking lot! It's peanut butter and chocolate for bitter misanthropes like yours truly. I wondered if I'd have enough material for a respectable posting, but after some extensive consideration (i.e. going to a parking lot), it was a landslide vote toward justification of its own article, and as such, infinite internetness (New word, honey, you know who you are). For what it's worth, the parking lot is a fascinating microcosm of all that is annoying about people, and by extension, the vehicles that they use to exude their inner pathetique. Happy 4th. Yes, I know it's now the 5th, but I'm late to everything. By the way, kids, only SEVEN more posts until the big 100th article jamboree! Do NOT miss that one! Coming in August, dates to be mentioned later. I'm working on it. Sadly I really am. C'mon man, I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to go! Ah, Gere. Ah, Bach. Oh by the way, I decided, at least until I get to #100, I'll be creating cryptograms for a select few people that might understand my intentions. Trust me, they aren't worth the time to decode, and they are just personal things anyway. Just ignore them, it's more just for self gratification. Thanks and pardon our dust! On with the show.

(Cryptogram : The CTA Train took the Confederate General, would not pass this, and then followed anchors. Check your bottlecaps. Anyway, on to the article...)

The Cars Have Eyes
Every time I sit in a car for more than 2 minutes, invariably, there will be a couple creepy lurkers, sitting in an adjacent car, watching me. If I do anything mildly odd, like talk on the phone in my car, or drink something while chilling out in the car, I always see these creepy people staring back at me through the window of their broken down El Camino in the next spot. What are you people doing? If I drop some groceries or trip over something, it's a guarantee that I'll look up to see one or two pairs of beady eyes leering at me through their partially (and unprofessionally) tinted windows. Who are you people? Either leave the car or leave the premises. I can even tolerate the ones that are taking a nap in their parked car - hey, more power to ya, at least you aren't watching my every move.

Cart Corrals
They came up with the cart corral thing about 20 years ago, with the intention of all the happy customers "pitching in" and putting their shopping carts all into one place. First, the signs always say that by helping put the carts into this makeshift set of parallel bars, that the customers would help keep prices at a minimum. Why? The stores still have full time employees collecting the damn carts anyway, now they just don't have to walk as much. You know what, pot-head Metallica fan cart collector guy? I'm going to put my cart right by my car. You can come get it. The extra leg work will help you appreciate that hastily purchased weed so much more. You're welcome. Rock on.

The Snow Plow People
When the hell of a nice hefty winter snowfall comes around, then the magic of the store parking lot takes on a whole new identity. First of all, after about six inches of snow, you won't see the plow people till the lot is at its emptiest, like at four in the morning. Fine, great, wonderful. The problem is, if you're one of the unfortunate souls looking for a frozen pizza and some skinny jimmys around that time, you have to become Snake Pliskin in an icy equivalent of downtown hell. These plow people will salt your car, assault your car, salt you, assault you, run you over, run after you, you name it. They're amped up on God knows what, plowing snow into 20 foot tall embankments at 30 miles per hour, doing doughnuts in the middle of the lot like a Zamboni with a penicillin allergy. Yes I know Zambonis are machines and can't technically have allergies, but be creative, dear reader. By 8am, the lot will be well plowed and cleared of snow and ice, in time for the morning rush. Unfortunately, there will be several casualties trapped in a few man made snow piles - you'll find them by looking for the second hand galoshes and Totino's box.

Bad Timing
Every time I am trying to get in or out of my car, the following will be the case. An crumbling old bat will be taking hours to get in or out of her car's door in an adjacent parking spot, thus forcing me to wait until Grandma Ethel moves her walker, cane, and heart meter in/out of the vehicle. Only when I am needing to enter/exit my car. Similarly, I'll run into the situation when the happy mommy needs about 40 minutes to buckle/unbuckle her kids, and spray all the car doors open on either side, thus paralyzing all adjacent parking spots until little Audrey, Blake, and Dylan are safely in their new spots.

River Raid Syndrome
I discussed this long ago in my complaints about driving. River Raid was a game when you, a plane flying along the middle of a river at nearly its surface, would have to shoot or dodge boats that and other things that would conveniently pop out from the side at the worst possible times. That said, when I'm trying my best to drive down an aisle toward the typically inconvenient exit point, the bright white "backup lights" will start popping up on either side, and it's just a matter of time before one of these dopes back out right into the side of my car. Some of them have to do it through blind guesswork, thanks to...

The Wall of SUVs
Another fascinating wet Pringle of irony that visits my vehicular ballet known otherwise as parking lot navigation is the visual wall of SUVs and vans. When perpendicularly parked in a lot with an aisle that's barely wide enough to allow two cars to pass each other in opposing directions, it's a great festival of guesswork to be parked between two hulking, tall vehicles. That wondrous twist of fate leaves me with no choice but to blindly back out of the spot and hope for blue sky, expect the grouchy extended horn honky from a passing driver, or dread the sound of metal hitting metal. It's always one of the three, and these days, I'm lucky to have avoided the third one in this wondrous game of low speed Russian Roulette.

The Parking Lot Snipers
In larger mall lots, you'll find the wide, lazy expensive cars that seem entitled to a parking spot that is one of the top 50 or 60 closest spots amongst the 6000 in the entire lot. These wizards of strategy will sit and block one lane of traffic in an aisle for as long as necessary, while Grandma Slowmenstein bumbles with her dozens bags containing ugly sweaters and shirts for her adorably spoiled descendants. While Grandma S. sorts out her belongings and packs everything away into the car that is parked in such a prime spot, Aunt Fatass sits there in her Lincoln Contental, content to block traffic and listen to "My Beautiful Balloon" in climate controlled comfort. These idiots will sit long enough for people to siphon their gas.

The Unlucky Samaritan
Maybe it's just me (that should just begin every passage), but especially in winter, I always get stuck coming back to my car that's parked next to the guy whose car needs a jump start. Grumble, it's midnight, I'm cold, and now I'm risking electrocution for an idiot whose 1979 Horizon still has a Die Hard battery from back when Sears was thriving on selling soft pretzels and bad Pacman cartridges. If I'm in any type of helpful frame of mind, I'll help the poor bastard even though

- None of my good deeds ever go unpunished,
- All my good deeds have never yielded good karma
- Nobody's ever around to offer help for my car

On a similar token, I'll be asked for help from the moron who's locked out of his/her car. Now, I've been locked out of my car twice - once it wasn't my fault, and the other time was 19 years ago. How hard is it? Keys out of ignition, put in pocket, lock door, enter store. I know I sound like Professor Falkan from War Games there, and maybe I am a living version of same.

Parking Lot Teen Losers
These are the kids that just hang out in a big parking lot, usually in a big group, and either perch on their bikes or skateboard around. Ok, I was a teen once, and one that knew enough people to justify hanging out. There were always five billion better places than the middle of a grocery store parking lot for hanging out. It's so stupid. There are parks, malls, anything. Stupid, stupid.

Unfortunately, I often see the insane dog, locked in a car, on a questionably warm day. That's just wrong. Sometimes the window might be cracked, like that's going to provide a zephyr of air conditioned comfort to an animal covered in fur. Nice call, Mitzy - you go shop for your quality cuts of tenderloin, while Fido boils in his own entrails. And for that matter, does anyone name their dog Fido, Spot, or Rover anymore? I'd almost be inclined to take a poll. Anyway, getting back to the topic, I've been tempted to open the doors and just take the damn dogs before, and if the door is unlocked the next time I see such a situation, I'm moving in. I suppose I could leave a nasty note telling Mitzy where she can reclaim her par-broiled companion of convenience. Bitches. And I don't mean the four-legged ones.


Martin Somerset said...

Attributing an allergy to a Zamboni is an excellent example of the literary technique known as personification.

The Vapid Voice said...

Thank you, indeed it is! I was hoping to slip in some onomatopoeia, but to no avail. BOOM! There, got one.

Martin Somerset said...

Hmmm, would you be available for some frottage? This kind of wordplay is very very exciting!

The Vapid Voice said...

Nope, the Zamboni is still sick.